Congratulations college graduates! How is it that the happiest day of your life is also the scariest? Graduation is just around the corner and many college students do not yet know what they will be able to do with their hard-earned college degree. Only a few lucky college graduates actually have decent jobs lined up after graduation. It is expected that 3.2 million college degrees will be conferred in the 2009-10 school year. So what do you do?
The first thing to do is celebrate one of life’s greatest accomplishments, your college degree. Listen to this MP3 playlist of Top 30 Graduation Songs. Thank Mom and Dad and most likely America’s taxpayers for helping you pay for college. Then look for a job. I am a former business education teacher with an MBA and long career in educational publishing. Here are some career counseling tips for 21st century college graduates.
How Does Your Future Look After College Graduation?
The first question every college graduate asks is, “What is my future?” Next is, “How will I find a good job when it is rough out there?” You may feel discouraged by the bad economy, the huge numbers of people in the job market that you are competing against, and the pressure you feel to do something with your life. Don’t worry; I graduated from college in 1981 with a Bachelors Degree and in 1985 with an MBA, during a major recession, before social networking, as a single parent, and life turned out O.K. I won’t sugar coat life by saying my career was always roses, because I had to take some pretty downwardly mobile jobs to survive at certain points, but you work it out.
Let me give you a glimpse of your future by showing you how the future turned out for my undergraduate college graduating class of 1981. Researchers at St. Mary’s College surveyed 1981 college graduates to see how their jobs turned out compared to their college education. Three-fifths of the college graduates of 1981 said there was a strong relationship between their current jobs and their college majors. About 47 percent were very satisfied and 37 percent were moderately satisfied with their first jobs they got after college graduation.
Here some other useful articles to read after you read this one, to help give you a glimpse into your career future:
Top 5 Hottest Careers for 2009-2016 Do you have college AND certifications?
How to Determine the Right Career Path Ten Decision Steps to Choosing the Right Career Path
I Want To Be A Bumble Bee Tips for Job Interviews; Be Ready to Answer, What Animal Would You Like To Be?
Will Your Digital Footprint Cost You A Job One in five employers search social networking sites for information about job applicants.
Top 5 Easy-to-Get Jobs to Help You Get by in a Bad Economy I have an MBA and was a proud bingo caller to make extra money after a layoff.
What I Did With My College Degree and How You Can Compete
I am one of few people who actually did what I wanted to do as a little girl – be a teacher. When I graduated with my Bachelors of Business Administration in Business Education, I became a high school business education teacher in El Paso, Texas. I soon realized teaching would not pay enough to support my daughter and I, as I was a single parent.
I taught high school for four years while working on my Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in Marketing and Business Development. I wanted more for my daughter, so when I graduated with my MBA, I left teaching and went into educational publishing as an Editor. After two years, my company moved me into sales and marketing where I spent the next 15 years moving up the corporate ladder, eventually to Director of New Business Development in Fortune 100 publishing.
You may think it is hard to find a job because of the economy and the historic recession of 2009, but don’t use that as an excuse to quit looking. I applied at 37 school districts in Colorado where I graduated, before landing a teaching job in Texas. I am now 54 years old and after leaving publishing in 2000, I re-entered the workforce, and landed a job less than a year ago as a contract specialist, reviewing and writing bids for a staffing agency.
I am definitely overqualified and underpaid for this job, but the point is – it is a job in the 2010 recession! You may have to start lower than your expectations at graduation time and keep looking. The one thing that really goes against you when you are a college graduate is you have no real world work experience. You will compete against people like me who have an MBA, years of experience, and are willing to take jobs at lower pay. But, there is one advantage you could have over the older experienced competition.
In this job market, consider getting as many certifications as you can add behind your college degree on your resume. It is no longer enough to say you have a Bachelors Degree or a Masters Degree. You will compete with young professionals who not only have a college degree but also have Six Sigma Certification, Microsoft Certification, Project Management Certification, Human Resources Certification, Vendor Management Certification, Certified Public Accounting (CPA)…you name it and there is a certification for it.
Certifications became popular in the 1990s to help company managers identify job applicants who had a more narrow expertise in a particular specialty area. The problem with certifications is you can get pigeon holed into a niche specialty that is too narrow to be able to find another job years down the road. In today’s job market, it is common for young professionals to have several degrees and several certifications to make them more marketable across industries and geographic locations.
The Proof Is In The Pudding
My 34 year-old son-in-law has a Bachelors Degree in Chemistry, an MBA in Finance, a Black Belt in Six Sigma, a project management certification and is an Air Force Veteran. My 34 year-old daughter is an Air Force Veteran with a Bachelors Degree and a Masters Degree in Accountancy, and is a CPA and Certified Internal Auditor (CIA). They both relocated to Dallas in January when the son-in-law left Alltel after being bought by Verizon. They both had multiple interviews and could negotiate relocation packages, salary packages, and management perks.
During their 10-year careers, each has held jobs at three different companies, moving up the career ladder and salary chain along the way. Each spends time adding new continuing education credentials to their resume. This education profile and job history is typical of today’s young upwardly mobile professionals. The one thing I have always told my high school students, my children, and new college graduates in the circle of family and friends is:
“Your future and your success is there for you to grab. NOTHING can stop you from having it all and how much you grab is up to you.” Do not blame the economy or the tough job market or anything else for what you do or do not accomplish in the weeks, months, and years after college graduation. There are generations before you that lived through worse and succeeded. Set realistic goals and keep grasping for more.
Congratulations College Graduates
Best wishes and congratulations to all college graduates. You are the promise of our future. Go make your mark!
U.S. Census Bureau
Report of Follow-Up Graduates of 1981